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Us 9, Mr. Teague 3, Harrison 2, Moore 2, Goldman 1, Octavia 1, Antonini 1, Rubin Junius 1, John Kevlin 1, Mr. Kevlin 1, John Goldman 1, Cory 1, Teshvthxv 1, California 1, San Francisco 1, Western Soma 1, Omaha 1, Tatectionverctiontion 1, U.n. 1, Soma 1,
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  SFGTV2    [untitled]  

    November 29, 2012
    12:30 - 1:00pm PST  

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these controls have allowed the tenants to relocate to these neighborhoods and bring with them economic vitality, energy and new life to the buildings. [speaker not understood] western soma plan supports [speaker not understood] and maintain various uses and we strongly believe that maintaining the existing rules regarding uses in historic buildings will directly fulfill this goal. with all that said, i respectfully request that the commission maintain the existing historical use controls as part of the western soma plan. thank you. >> thank you. good afternoon, commissioners. john kevlin here with the law if ierv of rubin junius. i want to talk to you about two specific issues in the western soma today. first is the historic use controls that luke was just referring to. these are currently in effect throughout the eastern neighborhoods and actually currently in effect under the existing controls in west soma. and essentially what these do is for certain classes of
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historic buildings, it relaxes the use controls in them with the goal of allowing the buildings to stay under operation, giving them flexibility so they can maintain and preserve them adequately since they all are historic resources. so, currently in the west soma, excuse me, this is a little technical so bear with me. all uses are permitted in buildings that are landmarks, that are contributory to article 10 historic district, and that are article 11 rated. and i just want to make a note that this is already narrower than what's allowed under the historic use controls throughout the rest of the eastern neighborhoods. but what is being proposed right now as part of the west soma plan would further narrow those classes of historic buildings that would allow these relaxed use controls. it would limit it only to landmark buildings which there are not obviously many less of those than with the three
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separate groups. so, this is a particularly significant problem in western soma only because the new use districts that are being proposed are particularly restrictive with respect to uses. just take for example the rcd district that runs the course of ninth street and 10th street in the area. on the third floor and above there are only five nonresidential uses that are permitted. just to go over them real quick, neighborhood agricultural, large scale actour, assembly social service, public use, and small residential care. so, it's very limited what you can do in these existing buildings. and it's a little bit better on the first and second floors, but it's still pretty limited compared to other mixed use drifts in the area. so, what we're asking today is that at the very least you maintain the current classes of eligible historic buildings that are subject to these historic use controls, to not further narrow it and bring it further out of line with the eastern neighborhoods controls. and you can even consider opening it up even more in
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eastern neighborhoods the historic controls applied to all buildings that are eligible for the california register so that's something you might want to consider as well. so, the other issue i wanted to mention today is with regard to the overlap. our firm and a number of our clients have been involved with the development of the western soma plan over the last ten years or so and for a couple reasons, we think that the western soma plan should be able to just kind of move forward and allow the central corridor plan to run its course. one project sponsor has been waiting a long time for these controls to go into effect and the central corridor plan is probably going to take another two or three years. before it goes into effect, [speaker not understood]. yeah, thank you. >> thank you. good afternoon, commissioners. i'm john goldman of goldman architects. i spoke to you two weeks ago. we are the architects of the
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343 50 11th street project which is now painted purple and is therefore very obvious on the street. to reiterate what cory was saying, we have an active permit submittal that was put in in 2005. because of the western soma planning process and the e-i-r process for the western soma which started actually after we submitted, we were told by planning that our project could not proceed unless my client paid for their own e-i-r, which would be about $150,000. we were also told if they waited, there would be an e-i-r for the whole western soma and they could get a community exemption, which would not be too expensive. so, they've been diligently waiting and i've been diligently and patiently noting the ongoing process of the western soma plan and no point in the last seven years has the block of 11th between
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harrison and folsom been anything other than wmug which would allow our project to proceed. now, seven years later about a month before approval options have been submitted to you, all of which would prohibit new housing and therefore prohibit this project. so, if, of course, we had omaha, nebraskav this would happen at the last minute, my client would have paid for their own e-i-r two years ago paul lord offered us to get in on the overall area plan e-i-r. * we did a little financial analysis of that because each specific project would have to pay their share of that cost and turned out that was still very expensive. so, again, we decided to wait. never thinking that at the last minute the entire project type of housing would be banned from that block. so, in the * .
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i'm asking because of fairness, because we've been patiently waiting for seven years, to please grandfather in this pipeline project at 340-350 11th street. if you have any questions for me, i'm -- about this project, i'm here to answer them. of course, we would provide acoustic isolation, as i mentioned two weeks ago. we have a unit type mix of only small units along 11th street, only studios and small bedroom. this is a result of our working with the nighttime entertainment people. one of whom has told me he's in favor of our project because it's going to bring him more business. and the people who will be moving into this building will be bringing business to the night club. i believe the way we've designed this building along with our acoustic design will make a compatible project and i'm hoping you will grandfather in. thank you. >> thank you. is there any additional public comment?
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* on this item? okay, the public comment portion is closed. commissioner moore? >> following up on what the public was asking, but also asking for further clarification, i am very pleased to hear support for letting western soma move as a plan for approval on its own and that the central corridor planning will follow in its own time. and, again, we all know in the end it's about conflict and compromise, whatever that will be will kind of [speaker not understood] when that plan is fully matured and we will pay attention that it's duly and properly attended to and discussed. number two, i would ask mr. teague to briefly restate the specifics of the v alternative. to my recollection, the commission supported the office alternative. i have an image here.
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if you will briefly, just in one or two words, summarize, it would be helpful that we are all on the same page on that. >> we're going to pull this up for the 3v option, which is essentially, again, just to remind everybody, right now it's proposed that harrison street would be the dividing line for where the sally district ends and where the western soma mug begins. the sally permits new nighttime entertainment uses but does not permit new office or residential. and the wmeg does allow new residential. this option would inis ited of keeping the 11th street corridor on that block, wmeg or extending the sally up that
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block, it would introduce the wmuo district onto that block, which is the western soma mixed use office drifted. district. and that district does allow for nighttime enter tatectionverctiontion, does obviously allow for office. but it does not allow for residential. * entertainment. so, under this option any existing residential uses that are there would become legal not conforming uses and any legal nonconforming nighttime entertainment uses or office uses on that block would become conforming. >> i appreciate your bringing that back to everybody's attention. i personally support and i hope the commission supports this option as one that was presented among 6 or 8 other all teshvthxv at this timexv. i thought the options were carefully enough explained to all of us. it is indeed a position we could take. the second point i am interested in is further
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explanation about your interpretation regarding the 350 11th street project which has been dormant in 2005 in response to what the architect described as a predicament, this particular client is in. would you please explain to us how you see it in response to what he said? >> so, unlike some other applications related to development, [speaker not understood] application related to the planning code, you are not automatically grandfathered on the date based on the date you submit your application. there is kind of the law -- [speaker not understood] at the time of approval. it's when the building permit or the site permit is issued. but when you get your entitlement. so, if something changes between when you file and when you get approved, then you are subject to what is the law at the time you're being approved. so, for this project, even though they filed their permits
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in 2005 and it's been around since then, essentially just on hold, if the zoning change does not allow housing, then unless there is a specific provision put into the code for grandfathering or pipelining -- or a pipeline that this project would meet that threshold, then it wouldn't be grandfathered. >> could i ask a clarifying question? in the eastern neighborhoods we had in the end a large number of pipeline projects. the interpretation you are presenting here today particular to this project is the same we used for the eastern neighborhoods. >> right. in the eastern neighborhoods there was a very detailed pipeline created with very specific provisions for different types of projects and dates of application. and each subset of pipeline project had its own criteria that it had to meet to fall within the pipeline essentially be grandfathered or partially grandfathered. so, we are not proposing to do that in western soma.
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we haven't been, but if we wanted to grandfather this project or any other project, we would have to create that type of pipeline provision or some other similar grandfathering provision. >> can i ask my question a little bit more precisely? i need to know that the techniques we used in the eastern neighborhoods are the same and the same criteria we're using here because this is a very difficult question. if you can't answer it or i don't want to put you on the spot, we are in a very awkward position here having to listen to somebody who at least presents to us that he has been following the procedures known to anybody, now finds himself behind the 8 ball not being able to bring this project forward. if you can't answer the question, i am very comfortable with it and you might consult with the city attorney. i think this commission needs to know that we are talking about apples and apples rather than apples and pears and oranges. >> i think the correct answer
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is there is nothing to compare because we did not include any kind of pipeline provision in western soma. so, there's no comparison between two different types of grandfathering mechanisms. we simply do not have a grandfathering mechanism in western soma as it is currently proposed. >> and that is clear to the public as it might affect other people in the projects, other property owners from the beginning? >> i know personally i fielded questions to that effect over the last couple years and paul lord did as well. there's never been any discussion about a grandfathering provision being included in the plan or in the code. >> since you are on the helm, i trust that that is a proper interpretation and i appreciate your commenting on it. my last question pertains to two people speaking to -- >> can i interrupt as long as we're on this topic? in terms of the actual zoning proposal that currently exists
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without changing it to one of the alternatives, it currently -- that's been in the plan for a long time, hasn't it? >> yes. the draft plan was released in september of 2008. and to my knowledge, none of the previous drafts before that final draft for the e-i-r were published was ever any different for this particular corridor. >> okay, thank you. >> the last question is two people spoke to it, historic use for control for historic resources. that instead was maintaining what we have, we are broadening it. i am neutral on it because the subtleties somewhat elude me. i'd like you to speak to that so we can better understand the criticism or the question for it. >> sure. mr. kevlin was correct in saying that in soma, in soma districts right now it, the provision for allowing flexibility of land uses in historic buildings is a higher
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bar than what exists in eastern neighborhoods. eastern neighborhoods essentially you only have to be a building that is determined eligible for the state or national register. you don't even have to be on the state or national register. just determined to be eligible and you can go through a process of going through that hpc and if needed coming to the planning commission and, you know, it's essentially a trade-off keeping the building viable and maintained over time in exchange for more flexibility of land uses. the problem that we run into with western soma is that now that the survey is complete and has been now for a while, there is an extremely large number of buildings that would meet that threshold in we shall soma. and as you know, office use specifically under the current controls in western soma is extremely limited. that's being loosened a little bit under what's proposed. but if we useedth same threshold as eastern neighborhoods for that kind of flexibility, then there would
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be a significant amount of office space that would essentially be able to be permitted within the plan area. so there was a conscious decision made to raise the bar, essentially, as to what level of historic building would be able to take advantage of that kind much land use flexibility. and that was set at being article 10 landmark building. he is also correct there aren't many buildings right now that are currently land marked in western soma. however, based on the information we have from the survey, there are a number of buildings that could be landmarked and could go through the process. they just would have to proactively go through that process and submit to that procedure in being landmarked to be able to take advantage of the more flexible land use controls. >> thank you. >> [speaker not understood]. >> can i pursue that a minute? sorry. [speaker not understood]. >> as long as we're on the subject, cory, is it specifically limited just to
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article 10 landmarks or is it also article 10 districts, contributors and districts? >> it's just to landmarks, not to contributors to district. and, again, i think we ran into the same issue in terms of having such a large portion of the western soma plan area covered by one or more districts and having a large number of contributors or buildings that would be eligible for the state or national register. >> okay, thank you. >> commissioner antonini. >> thank you. i have a number of questions and comments. i would, as the other commissioners, generally supportive of last week's option of 3b in regards to the entertainment section of western soma. on the issue of the purple building which has been brought before us, i think it would be -- if there's a mechanism to do it, it would be wise to grandfather this or any other projects that might happen to
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fall into that category. i think it's an issue of fairness. there may have been different standards that came forth in the neighborhood, and we have development what would be needed for grandfathering. and part of the approval process was predicated on the support of many of the owners of these grandfathered projects being able to move forward. so, it was a much larger issue than this, what appears to be one building. but what i'm hearing even as we're discussing now which option to have on 11th street. one of the options before us would have allowed housing, one of them would not have allowed housing. we're moving towards the nonhousing allowance. so, we're sort of making these changes potentially at the 11th hour. and that's a little bit difficult for the sponsor. and i'd like to see a way to grandfather it in and they built at their own risk and put their own sound barriers in and people are going to live there. i know there is always this rub
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between entertainment and residents. but, you know, it would seem if they're willing to take that chance, i would like to see it move forward. mr. teague, i don't need an answer now, but i would like to see that researched. thirdly, in regards to the discussion of eligible buildings, particularly article 11 and article 10 buildings that exist in western soma, in allowing those a little more flexibility than would be the case with the zoning we're proposing, i would tend to be in favor of that on its face because we have a lot of problems in many parts of san francisco, particularly now with the more restrictive -- the hiss thor cal preservation commission and more scrutiny on historic buildings as to their preservation, as was the case before.
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* and given this scrutiny, which i think is good, we do want to preserve the past and preserve buildings from the past. we may have to allow in return for the preservation the owners of these buildings a little more flexibility in creating something that's economically feasible. otherwise, you have an older building that's in great disrepair, falling apart, a use that is not a credit to the neighborhood oftentimes and, you know, sometimes conditions in the case of housing that are not good ones for the residents there. so, i think -- i'm not saying wide open anything that's even vaguely eligible, but i think we have to kind of look at this carefully and see if there is something we could craft that would allow some flexibility in the various areas of zoning to allow something that's maybe
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legal but nonconforming to continue in this use in return for, you know, the restoration of the building. so, i'd like to see some research on that before next week. i understand we're having an approval hearing or we're having a hearing to move forward -- further forward on western soma. the final thing i'd like to bring up is the four blocks that overlap the potential central corridor that are a part of western soma. i think, you know, we really need a little bit more information as to what might be proposed for this area. what are the potential solutions? are there plans for additional high density, additional parking? some of the things that may be in conflict with that area. and while we scrutinize closely the 11th street area, we've done almost no scrutiny at all over the area that possibly
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could be contentious. i'm not advocating for keeping this area or any part of western soma on hold until the central corridor is ready to go forward because that doesn't make sense. but i think we really have to know where the possible areas of conflict may be, what could be done to make the two compatible, and what are the options that would be before us. i know we can't jump ahead two or three years to know exactly what may be planned for central corridor, but perhaps someone could give us some insight into what is being thought of there and how to make the two dovetail together in a way that keeps the western soma plan moving forward. so, i think i'd like to see that certainly for next week if we could have a little bit more explanation along those lines. >> let me follow-up on that. related to the four blocks of overlap, mr. teague, are you able to describe a little bit
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further in detail how that might look or are there any ideas on those four blocks? how to treat it? >> sure. you mean obviously other than what is proposed right now? >> right. >> well, you know, there are other potential options with how to deal with that. again, what we're proposing right now is to have western soma go forward as proposed on its timeline, let central corridor come along on its timeline. one spectrum that's been discussed, carving out the portion of overlap and not rezoning that under this process right now and essentially putting that area on hold until central corridor moves forward, something that maybe less intense could be some type of provision in the zoning about the expiration date of the zoning or effective date of the zoning that would
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give some flexibility within the zoning and overlap area which start or end in relation to central corridor. or you could also potentially just acknowledge that this area is currently being evaluated in another planning process and be able to look at it again in a couple years in your approval resolution. so, you know, there are a range of options that are potentially out there that could be investigated further. but, again, we're proposing to move forward as is. >> okay, thank you. commissioner borden. >> yeah, i'll ask another question about -- has the notification gone out for next week's hearing, all the property owners -- how does that work when you have -- >> sure. basically any property owner in the plan area and then every property owner with property within 300 feet of the boundary of the plan area. >> so this has gone out -- >> they've gone out. >> i guess what i think i'm
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interested in discussing a little more is thinking about this, whether we're talking about grandfathering or pipeline. i think that the article 11 issue kind of raises that question. if there is decision to make it more restrictive because there are so many buildings that could fall into that category, then i would think that it would still be important to look at some of those buildings in their existing uses. if there is a legalization or grandfathering process that makes sense, look at whether something should be done because we did that in the eastern neighborhoods. i just think it's important -- this issue, the first time we heard of it was today. and i don't know that many other property owners, you said there's a lot of buildings impacted, are even aware that's something that's changed. and it's not an obvious thing that would have changed in the plan. so, i just think -- when i'm concerned about notification, it's that kind of stuff that obviously people are super informed like we all are, pay attention, know what's going on. but a lot of other people don't.
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and even us didn't recognize it was a problem and we've seen this plan many times. so, you know, therein lies the concern. and the same thing in terms of uses that are becoming legal nonconforming. if there is a need or we think there is any sort of legitimatization process, i feel like we need to look at that. i haven't seen a lot of members of the public active except for the entertainment community. it's kind of concerning, not because, you know, i would love to think everyone is happy and this plan is perfect, but the point is there's always the lack of, you know, details that people don't see and then it causes a lot of problems with the planning department then later, people are upset with us because we didn't inform them. so, i'd like to look at, you know, if that -- at that next hearing if we can look at some of the buildings in that position and some of the other areas where we have a pretty large segment where people will
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become -- uses will be become legal nonconforming, how we want to treat that, how we want to treat any future expansions which usually are not allowed and what the rules are around, you know, what's accessory sort of expansion and things that people can do with those nonconforming uses. so, i don't know if you had something to say to that. >> i just wanted to make one clarification, kind of to distinguish between legitimatization program and legal nonconforming. so, any use that's legal now may already be legal nonconforming or it's legal now and it's going to be rezoned in a way that use is no longer permitted, it will become legal nonconforming. how we treat those uses, obviously they're allowed to stay. in some cases depending on the use, they're allowed to expand to some degree with certain approvals. that's already kind of covered in the code. the legitimate am i sayization process we did for eastern neighborhoods was specifically for projects that had not got
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earn their permit so they weren't legal but uses that could have gotten their permits when they went but they didn't. >> right. >> it gave them an option to come in and become legal nonconforming uses * because if it's a situation where you have a use that's legal right now and we're proposing to rezone it and it's going to become legal nonconforming use, there's no way to kind of provide a pathway to legalizing that use without changing the zoning. >> right. i was thinking about doing that here. it doesn't sound like we were. >> no, we were not proposing to do a legitimatization process within western soma. >> i just think that -- i think that commissioner moore's questions to a certain extent asking about how we treated things in eastern neighborhood and how that applies to western soma. and i recognize that every treatment -- i know we've been trying to -- we looked at market octavia and we looked at eastern neighborhoods. we're trying to create some degree of consistency across how the code treats some general principles and i just
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think that to the extent that that was done in eastern neighborhoods or in other plan areas, i think it's u.n. reasonable to see how we might do this in this plan area. if there is a strong compelling reason not to to understand what those compelling arguments are, and how it impacts people because, again, i think there's a reasonable expectation that what happened in the process of eastern neighborhoods would then carry over to the new process. and, so, i think that's what we need to kind of figure out and work on. and then the same thing you're talking about with grandfathering, i don't know how many other projects fit the same parameters of the 11th street. maybe they're the only one. but if you can pull that information for us because i think it would be useful. then you could have a more intelligent conversation about do we want to make a special exemption for this one project or is it an issue we need to deal with, you know, in a greater manner. if so, what would be the timeline cutoffs or things we did like in eastern

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